By John McGrath
Meeting held: May 17, 2012.
Next meeting: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 7-8:30 P.M., Greenleaf Seniors Building, 1200 Delaware Ave. SW.
Participants: Sgt. Michael Architzel, Police Service Area (PSA) 105, and Officers Bookard and Fails (juvenile unit), PSA 105; Officer Chasten, Public Housing Police (PHP); Naomi Monk and Irv Gamza, PSA 105 meeting coordinators/facilitators; and John McGrath, recorder.
Sgt. Architizel reviewed the crime statistics for PSA 105 for the period January through April 2011 versus 2012 (Robbery is up — 17 vs. 24; Assault with a Deadly Weapon is down — 18 vs. 12; Burglary is down — 16 vs. 11; Theft is up slightly – -55 vs. 63; Theft from Auto is up — 13 vs. 21; Stolen Auto is Down — 22 vs. 14. Overall, violent crime and property crime is up 2.8 percent for 2012. Sgt. Architzel stated the police have closed recent cases of robbery quickly. He also noted that some cases of burglary have been reclassified as theft of property.
The owner of Friendly’s Market at Half and O Street SW spoke briefly about alleged drug-related activity near his business that was reported as part of a front page article in The Washington Post on April 1, 2012. The owner stated that overall drug-related crime has declined in the area during the 9 years that he has owned the business. Residents of Syphax Village Condo nevertheless complain of crowds of people blocking the sidewalk in front of Friendly’s Market. Police acknowledged that there is no anti-loitering law in DC. A neighbor suggested that Friendly’s hire private security, but costs are prohibitive for a small business. Police proposed a private meeting between police and the Friendly’s owner to discuss issues.
Other matters discussed:
- More young adults compared to juveniles are loitering and sitting on cars near the 300 O St. Circle SW.
- Police reported that a video surfaced with Greenleaf, Syphax and James Creek public housing residents displaying weapons. Warrants are pending for some of these individuals.
- A neighbor raised concerns about a weekly (Wednesday) needle exchange program at Westminster Church (Fourth and I Street SW). Needles were observed on the street near Amidon-Bowen Elementary School.
- A supervisor from the Superior Court’s juvenile drop-in center at 1200 S. Capitol St. discussed operational progress to date. Neighbors expressed their concerns about potential conflicts between youths living in Southwest and those coming from outside Southwest.
- Police acknowledged that added resources are deployed during and after National’s baseball games, but police resources are stretched to provide coverage to all of the hot spots in PSA 105.
- Officer Chasten, PHP, stated that their authority to deal with loitering on public housing property is limited if a resident is present and others are “visitors.”